The Eagles were back at NovaCare Complex on Sunday and Doug Pederson spoke to the media about having just 21 days left before the season opener, how some young guys are performing at practice, and why it’s beneficial to have so many former players around.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On having former players around
The head coach was asked about the advantages of having so many former players on his staff. He talked about the benefits to having former players as full-time staff members (Marquand Manuel, Aaron Moorehead, Duce Staley, Justin Peelle, Tim Hauck, etc.).
“There’s something to say for guys that have played this game that are now coaches because they can lean on their experiences as a player, which can help sort of teach the younger player how it is to be a pro.”
And now they have the younger group of guys, like Brent Celek, Connor Barwin, Darren Sproles and Jason Avant. Where some of the position coaches might not be in the locker room as much, these guys can really embrace the team and younger players and help them learn what it takes to be a pro, and more importantly, what it means to be a Philadelphia Eagle, and be successful within the organization.
On training camp
Pederson said there’s about 10 days left of training camp before you’re into game week with just 21 days until the season opener. They’ll have to start making some roster moves in the next 10 to 14 days — it feels a little bit differently, but this is everything they anticipated.
“I am pleased where the team is at right now, but there are still some things we have to work on and practice this week coming up in order to be fully prepared for that first week.”
During Friday’s first live session of camp, the defense won the day at the expense of the offensive line. Pederson said he wasn’t concerned about the OL’s performance, but was rather more focused on elimating pre-snap penalties on both sides of the ball.
Pederson also talked a bit about some of the starters being out (Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders and Boston Scott) and how that was a great opportunity for some of the young players to step up and get reps with the ones and twos.
“I think [TE] Noah [Togiai] at tight end has done an outstanding job. He’s a smart kid. Picked up the offense extremely well. He’s learning the ins and outs of technique and just maybe how big and fast a defensive end like BG [DE Brandon Graham] might be or [DE] Vinny Curry, guys like that, [DE] Josh Sweat, that he’s going against, so he’s doing a really nice job there.
I think about the running backs. [RB] Elijah Holyfield who is getting a little bit of time now with both Miles and Boston, sort of day-to-day, and it’s a great experience to be out there with Elijah and really [RB] Michael Warren, to be in that first huddle, right. Listening to Carson. Listening to the communication. That’s the only way that these guys can get better and understand this game, and the same way with the receivers, right. Being in that first huddle, just goes a long way because they typically, probably wouldn’t be playing in the first group if we were playing preseason games, right.”
On Carson Wentz
Heading into the QBs fifth year, Pederson said that he’s got a new set of young, skill guys around him and Wentz needs to be active in his leadership over that group. Continue the work he did last year to help shape and mold the younger guys, and embrace being a source of knowledge for them, as well.
“He knows how to play this game. He plays it just like a professional. He knows how to play. He’s aggressive. We have to maintain that aggressiveness and I think with just continuing to teach and maybe part of the injuries that he’s gone through in the last couple of seasons are things that he can learn from.”